Beef plant expansion scores provincial money
P.E.I. contributing an extra $150K
The province is putting money toward the expansion of Atlantic Canada's only federally-inspected beef plant, which is good news for local cattle producers.
Since opening in 2005, Atlantic Beef Products had been losing as much as $3 million a year.
Last year, the province capped its funding at $1.5 million.
But Rural Development Minister Ron MacKinley said things are starting to turn around under new management, so P.E.I. is contributing an extra $150,000 for the upgrades.
"Where are we going to help out rural P.E.I. more than helping out our farmers and their meat plant," MacKinley said.
Cattle producer Ivan Johnson said he hopes there is some certainty that the province's beef plant will stay open thanks to the expansion, which includes upgrades to the facility's freezer unit.
"With a plant this close, you're not trucking cattle long distances. It's less stress on them, there's better quality to the carcasses. You know, little things you would never think of."
Future funding is still up in the air.
But for now, Johnson is positive about the plant's outlook.
"It's all a good indication that they're looking for more markets. Therefore, there would be more cattle going to the plant during the week. And so that's all good news for beef producers not only here in P.E.I., but in the Maritimes," Johnson said.
He hopes that, with increased production, new markets could open up in Europe.